Understanding the basis of shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) partial migration in the Gulf of Maine

Matthew E. Altenritter, Gayle B. Zydlewski, Michael T. Kinnison, Joseph D. Zydlewski, Gail S. Wippelhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Movement of shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) among major river systems in the Gulf of Maine is common and has implications for the management of this endangered species. Directed movements of 61 telemetered individuals monitored between 2010 and 2013 were associated with the river of tagging and individual characteristics. While a small proportion of fish tagged in the Kennebec River moved to the Penobscot River (5%), a much higher proportion of fish tagged in the Penobscot River moved to the Kennebec River (66%), during probable spawning windows. This suggests that Penobscot River fish derive from a migratory contingent within a larger Kennebec River population. Despite this connectivity, fish captured in the Penobscot River were larger (~100 mm fork length) and had higher condition factors (median Fulton’s K: 0.76) than those captured in the Kennebec River (median Fulton’s K: 0.61). Increased abundance and resource limitation in the Kennebec River may be constraining growth and promoting migration to the Penobscot River by individuals with sufficient initial size and condition. Migrants could experience an adaptive reproductive advantage relative to nonmigratory individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-473
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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